Why exercise is the best medicine available
"Movement makes you mobile - and mobility can set things in motion."
Mobility and physical well-being have a major impact on one's own quality of life at any age.
Exercise is one of the most important tools to lead a healthy and long life. Physical activity not only helps you to live healthier and longer, but is also fun and also supports mental fitness.
Movement, based on experience, counteracts health risk factors - lack of exercise, on the other hand, actually nurtures them. The performance of the body begins to decrease at the age of 35 due to its natural aging process and thus the risk of adverse health impairments increases with age.
Physical inactivity sometimes promotes or causes this (catabolic) process. Sufficient exercise and regular and targeted training will help you to reduce these risk factors for diseases and thus helps you to grow older in a healthy manner without sacrificing quality of life.
Especially in old age or with physical limitations is it therefore important to stay active and by doing so preserve and boost a part of your mobility. You probably also know the proverb: "If you rest, you rust!". As a result, physicians and therapists recommend staying active for as long as possible to help reduce lack of movement and reduce the loss of mobility. Both are risk factors for an increased need for care or for the development of further loss of function and health disorders.
Increased mobility not only means greater autonomy
Increased mobility not only means greater autonomy (self-reliance and self-determination) for the person concerned, but also a higher quality of life, better well-being, social participation, disease prevention, health promotion and a better opportunity for self-care. It is therefore important to escape the vicious circle of inactivity and to maintain and build up fitness and mobility through everyday movements. Exercise not only keeps you physically fit, but also mentally, because it increases cerebral blood flow and thus slows down the mental aging process.
So what can you do in everyday life to stay active and mobile?
The most important thing is to keep moving - regardless of whether you are already active and fit or may have difficulties walking or having coordination issues. Following the motto "any movement is better than no movement", we put together a compact list of tips for targeted everyday training. Every activity that may seem unimportant in everyday life helps you to maintain and extend your mobility and balance. A 20-minute walk, for example, serves as a good cardiovascular workout. Doing daily housework such as carrying out garbage, dusting or vacuuming requires exercise and helps to increase everyday activity. Doing the regular shopping by foot, gardening or playing with the grandchildren are also part of it.
To promote and maintain good health, 150 minutes (2½ hours) of exercise per week are recommended. A health-oriented and above all effective training consists of a mixture of exercises for balance as well as coordination and has the goal that you maintain and promote your mobility and at the same time prevent dangerous falls in the future! If it is not possible for you to reach the 150 minutes due to physical limitations, do not let yourself be demotivated and try to incorporate as much exercise into your daily life as you can.
The most important thing is to create a training program that specifically addresses your needs in terms of frequency, type and intensity. In case of uncertainty or previous falls, you should consult your doctor first. He can recommend specialist doctors and therapists (physiotherapists and ergotherapists), who will work out a suitable training plan together with you, which you can then carry out at home. People who suffer from gait disorders, balance disorders, or gait insecurity for a variety of reasons in particular should not exercise without consulting with your doctor.
Balance and body strength
Balance and body strength are extremely important for walking safely. You should therefore spend most of the time training your balance and, if necessary, increasing the strength of the legs. With existing limitations, you should train at least twice a week to improve your own skills and counteract muscle loss.
Try to distribute your training to at least four days a week and train at least ten minutes per session. However, it is important not to overestimate your own performance and take breaks. You will be surprised how fast you progress and with how much fun and joy you train regularly!
Climbing stairs extends life
The daily climbing of the stairs is certainly one of the most important exercises in your own home to maintain and promote your mobility and to train walking safely. Stair training offers clear advantages over regular walking training. Due to the slow movements, the joints are spared and allow an intensive and targeted training even with handicaps. The consistent stair climbing strengthens the muscles, the endurance and helps you to improve the respiratory function. It also trains the heart and circulatory system. Each climbed step increases your life by up to three seconds.
Accessibility and ease of use make the stair training one of the best, most effective and cheapest fitness exercises in your own home. In addition to stair training, you should train your balance and strength through targeted workouts.
Mastering stair climbing can be challenging for some due to illness or other ailments. In any case, it is important to note that stair training only has advantages if you are physically capable of doing so and have previously clarified with your doctor whether and to what extent it will benefit you.
Seniors or people who use walking aids (rollators, walkers, crutches, etc.) or have difficulties walking, need more safety and support during stair training than a normal handrail can provide. An innovative stair-climbing aid developed in Norway offers the necessary support and safety that the person concerned needs during stair training. The stair assistant ASSISTEP is a cost-effective alternative to a stairlift and mobilizes the user instead of passivating him. This actively helps you to train stair climbing and increases your ability to walk safely. It ensures safe stair climbing both inside and outside your own home and helps to prevent further falls in the future. So you can climb stairs independently and safely without additional support.
Seniors and people with walking difficulties due to balance disorders or dizziness, muscle weakness / lack of strength, people with low vision and hearing, people who are afraid of falling on stairs, who are insecure when taking drugs due to illness of the musculoskeletal system (osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, spinal disc herniation, etc.) or people suffering from neurological disorders (multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, polyneuropathy, parkinson's, stroke, etc.) as well as people with joint problems, can safely practice in their own home and are able to enhance their mobility as much as possible.
Do special training programs for seniors exist?
Yes! There are various programs and courses offered by local sports clubs, for example:
The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) has developed a program that is specially adapted to everyday life and thus can be implemented in your own home without much effort. The aim of the BZgA program "getting older in balance" for people over the age of 65 is to prevent illnesses and restrictions and thus delay the need for long-term care. The Association of Private Health Insurance e.V. (PKV) supports the program of the BZgA.
Further information, a wide range of exercise offers, tips and instructions for increasing exercise in everyday life as well as general information on the health promotion for older people can be found at www.aelter-werden-in-balance.de.
Another program of the BZgA is the Everyday Training Program (AlltagsTrainingProgramm - ATP for short). The everyday training program is a training program for women and men starting at the age of 60 and shows how to sustainably integrate more exercise into everyday life. The program lasts twelve weeks and teaches how easy it is to recognize and use everyday skills and everyday situations as a training opportunity. Further information on the everyday training program can be obtained from the Federal Center for Health Education.
Possible training activities of the ATP could be, for example:
- Walking for 30 minutes
- Washing floor for 15 minutes
- Vacuum for 20 minutes
- Climbing stairs for 15
- Biking for 25 minutes
- Gardening for 20 minutes
These activities can be performed and repeated according to your ability and condition after having consulted your doctor.
According to the motto "more exercise through everyday activities", you can stay mobile and healthy in the long run through targeted training that you simply integrate into your everyday life.
Whether you’re going for a walk, climbing the stairs, riding a bicycle or doing daily housework, as long as you keep moving, you maintain your health and strengthen your muscles.
You will quickly realize that training has a positive effect on your mobility and walking safety, and that in the future you will be able to go through life safer especially outside your own four walls.
Your psyche and immune system will also benefit from the extra exercise and you will feel more balanced and happy. Invite friends and family to train together and make your training even more motivating and interesting! We wish you a lot of motivation and fun with your everyday training!
View our information video for the stair climbing aid AssiStep:
Download our brochure:
- Assistep Brochure 2018 English AssiStep-brochure-2018-English.pdf Size: 6,54 mb Last ned